Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Stefano Raffaele
As Hawkeye continues his investigation into why a thug was sent to rough up the mistress of a mob boss, we see his investigation leads him to the wife of the mob boss, who looks to have the motive for wanting to see the other woman given a good scare. However, Hawkeye's comes to believe that the attack wasn't the result of a jealous wife, but rather a bid to silence the other woman who had been made privy to a secret the wife didn't want coming out.
If I had to make one complaint about Fabian Nicieza's writing it's that at times he offers up plots that feel like they are complicated simply to be complicated. I mean I'll applaud him for coming up with a rather clever way of bringing all the information we know together without requiring Hawkeye to engage in a internal monologue, as the group sitting around the hot tub discussing the case make for a wonderful narrative device. However, while this scene does a great job of laying out the plot it also acts as a pretty solid display of just how complicated Fabian Nicieza has made this story, as he's only has one issue out there and already he has to offer up a scene where the plot threads are collected together. Still, the book is quite entertaining as it's not simply a case of Hawkeye helping a lady in trouble anymore. To use Hawkeye's rather amusing onion example this story has many layers to it and just when you think he's on the verge of cracking the case, an unexpected element is added to the mix. The action scene in the woods was a lot of fun as well, as Fabian Nicieza comes up with some rather clever ways for Hawkeye to take out a trio of thugs, without actually burying his arrows in them. His conversation with the femme fatale of this story was also nicely done, as Hawkeye is almost channeling the ghost of Philip Marlowe during this scene. I'm not sure what the deal was with Hawkeye's tattoo investigation though, as the one he shows the artist bears no resemblance to the one on the man's arm.
As for the art, Stefano Raffaele continues to impress with his fairly gritty looking style that nicely captures the idea that Hawkeye's adventures are playing out in a world that isn't going to be full of bright and colorful super-heroics. In fact the art does a wonderful job of selling Hawkeye's little tricks as very impressive feats, as the art does such a convincing job of selling the idea that his adventures are set in the real world. From the pot belly that our super strong goon is sporting to the little tricks that Hawkeye performs to keep his hands occupied, the art does a wonderful job of selling the little details that add a greater sense of realism to the story. My only real complaint about the art on this issue was the rather goofy looking non-costume that Hawkeye is shown wearing on the cover, and I hope that this isn't a preview of the look we're going to be treated to in a future issue.
A fairly entertaining issue that benefits from the simple fact that I'm a big fan of Hawkeye and his rather flippant approach to being a hero, and if nothing else this series has perfectly captured Hawkeye's personality. Now I find the plot is getting a little too complex for it's own good as Hawkeye's investigation seems to only be producing more questions rather than answers, but it hasn't reached the point where the plot is incomprehensible, and Fabian Nicieza has come up with a rather clever method of bringing all the information together, which does make the plot far easier to follow. The action is also a lot of fun, and while I'm looking forward to the return of the costume & more importantly his trick arrows, I have to give Fabian Nicieza credit for coming up with a fun dominos falling approach, where something Hawkeye does triggers a series of accidents that do his work for him. The flashback material giving us a look at Clint's childhood is also quite solid, and it has me trying to remember what happened to his brother, as I dimly recall a story that involved the character.
What did you think of this book?
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